The Singapore government is investing S$70 million (US$50 million) in communications and connectivity research, a move that will see it hand out grants, develop new testbeds and support local communications tech talent.
The funding, provided by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF), comes under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) plan to launch Singapore’s first national Future Communications Research & Development Program (FCP).
It is hoped the investment will help to grow Singapore’s local capability to “translate” communications and connectivity research into innovative products, services and companies. The government views investment in research and innovation as key to building solutions for the future and staying at the forefront of the digital economy.
The initiative will see the establishment of new communications testbeds in 5G and beyond-5G technology, and support technology development, translation and training, while building up the talent pool in the areas of communications and connectivity technologies.
“I am pleased to announce that Singapore will be launching a US$50 million Future Communications Research & Development Program,” said Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat in a presentation at the Asia Tech X Singapore Summit on 13 July.
“The Program will support AI [artificial intelligence] and cyber security research for next-generation communications infrastructures, support testbeds for innovative pilots, and provide scholarships for those seeking to pursue research in communications.
“The research objectives the program seeks to address are significant, but the resources we can commit as a small nation are modest. Just like the COVID-19 virus, science knows no boundaries. While each of us can pursue research excellence individually, our efforts are greatly multiplied when we work together.
“So as part of this program, we will look to build international partnerships and strengthen collaboration across borders. For a start, the Future Communications R&D Program will establish a partnership with the 6G Flagship Program in Finland,” he added.
The Future Communications Research & Development Program will coordinate multidisciplinary research efforts across the research, innovation and enterprise ecosystem. This first national Future Communications Research & Development Program (FCP) is being hosted by the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
As host institution, SUTD will lead collaboration across the Singapore ecosystem, including the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT).
The funding announcement came as the government introduced a new common data infrastructure and framework, the Singapore Trade Data Exchange, or SGTraDex, launched to enable the trusted sharing of trade data.
Designed as a neutral and open digital infrastructure through a public-private partnership, SGTraDex was conceptualised by the Alliance for Action (AfA) on Supply Chain Digitalisation.
SGTraDex will support ecosystem-wide digital transformation, connecting supply chain ecosystems both locally and globally.
At the same time, Singapore Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo signed a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) with Japan and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Thailand, at the sidelines of the Asia Tech X Singapore Summit event.
The MOC is aimed at strengthening ICT collaboration between Singapore and Japan, enabling closer policy alignment and regulation on businesses.
Meanwhile, the signing of the MOU is intended to deepen the longstanding Thailand-Singapore relationship, which has now been expanded to include new areas of cooperation in the digital economy such as digital connectivity, smart cities and AI governance.
Both parties are also exploring interoperability between digital systems and frameworks that enable e-documentation.